Preserving at-risk archival radio broadcasts
Last week, librarians, archivists, and audio preservation enthusiasts from around the country joined forces in a mission to save America’s radio heritage at the first ever Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF) Conference.
Josh Shepperd, National Research Director for the RPTF, writes: “It’s safe to anecdotally contend that we’ve certainly already lost over 75% of radio history, and perhaps as high as 90%. Why is this important? The short answer is that radio has held a unique and important position in U.S. cultural history. Radio has been a media industry that developed a mature art form through storytelling and entertainment, while acting as a communications technology that has been utilized for community building and public discourse.”
As historic audio recordings dating back to the beginning of the 20th century rapidly deteriorate, the race to digitize and preserve these recordings grows more urgent every day. And digitization alone doesn’t ensure preservation: in fact, without proper care, digital recordings can be even more vulnerable to loss than physical formats.
At Pop Up Archive, one of our goals is to make recordings searchable for audiences in perpetuity. Check out some moments from 20th century radio history captured in our public archive.